A rough-mannered, paycheck-to-paycheck ranch worker. Ennis’s parents died in an auto accident when he was young, and he was raised by his older brother and sister. Although he falls in love with Jack Twist during their summer on Brokeback Mountain, he marries Alma Beers and has two daughters. Ennis is a stoic who, mired in the life he has made for himself, allows himself only stolen glimpses of the happy life he and Jack could have had with each other if circumstances had been different.
A passionate, emotional ranch worker. Jack was raised on a humble ranch and has little money, although he is obsessed with the glitzy rodeo lifestyle. Though he is in love with Ennis, he marries Lureen and has a son. On the side, however, Jack has affairs and travels to Mexico to have sex with male prostitutes. He tries to coax Ennis into building a life together, but Ennis resists. Ultimately, Jack dies in a freak roadside accident that is more likely a violent murder.
Ennis’s long-suffering wife. For nine years, Alma tolerates Ennis’s lack of affection, frequent trips with Jack, and poorly paying jobs. Although she sees Jack and Ennis kissing, she never says a word about it until well after they are divorced. She finally confronts Ennis about Jack during a Thanksgiving dinner, after which Ennis storms out and does not see her again.
Jack Twist’s wife. Lureen has money from her father’s farm machinery business. She has a head for numbers, and she and Jack enjoy a financially comfortable life together. When Ennis calls her after Jack’s death, her tone is icy, implying that she knows all about Ennis as well as Jack’s other male lovers.
The foreman who hires Jack and Ennis to work as herder and camp tender, respectively, on Brokeback Mountain in the summer of 1963. Aguirre spies on Jack and Ennis through his binoculars and later suggests to Jack that he knew what was going on between them up on Brokeback.